The 2nd April each year is World Autism Awareness Day (designated by the United Nations) and throughout the whole of April people around the world are holding events to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Condition which affects around 1 in 100 children.
So what do we mean when we talk about the autism spectrum? All children with autism have difficulties with communication and making sense of the world around them. It’s a spectrum condition because even though all children with autism share particular difficulties, the way it affects each individual is very different – some children will grow up to lead independent lives while others will need lifelong care. Autism does not only affect the person diagnosed, but living with and caring for a child on the spectrum has a huge impact on the entire family, parents and brothers and sisters.
There are a range of conditions that fall within the autism spectrum and Asperger Syndrome is one of them. Children with Asperger Syndrome don’t have difficulties with spoken language or have learning disabilities, and in fact many are very intelligent, but they have difficulties in processing language and with social skills.
Throughout World Autism Awareness month we hope to raise awareness of the uniqueness of children with autism – autism is more than Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man! – and to celebrate the many achievements of children and adults with autism.
Autism West Midlands is the leading charity in the West Midlands for people affected by autism. We are holding events across the region during April. In Shropshire where Shropshire Council and the local NHS Trust fund an Autism West Midlands service, we are holding a family event at the Barnabas Church Centre in Coleham, Shrewsbury on Friday 5 April, 10am and 2pm. There will be fun and games for the children, a craft table, Lego area, sensory trail and autism friendly professionals on hand to give information or provide services including a photographer, hair dresser and a chiropodist. Entry is free for children and only £1 for adults, although there will be additional charges for some services. There’s no need to book just turn up on the day.
Autism West Midlands has been working in Shropshire for six years and earlier this year had some good news when we learnt of the renewal of our funding contract, taking us up to March 2015. Last month we moved offices so are now based in the Shrewsbury Multi Agency Team at Richmond House, Harlescott and continue to offer the same mix of services to families of children under 18 years who are, or who may be, on the autism spectrum (children need not be diagnosed to access our service). We offer
- Advice to parent/carers at our regular face to face advice sessions at venues all over Shropshire, including advice and resources to help parents deal with difficult behaviours (to book an appointment call the helpline number below)
- Training workshops for parents on a variety of topics from our annual six week course “Rising to the Challenge, understanding your child’s autism” to one off workshops on particular issues like “I’m growing up – how to support your child through the teenage years”
- Short breaks activities and family events – we run Photography workshops, Music workshops and Saturday Clubs for children (without their parents) and family events and trips out for the whole family including parents and brothers and sisters.
To join our e-mailing list to receive regular updates about our activities email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more information about Autism West Midlands services in Shropshire and across the West Midlands call the autism helpline on 03 03 0300 111 or email email@example.com